Uni Break

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So you think millennials are over-privileged, lazy, narcissistic, entitled and out-of-touch? Have a look at what some of them have been doing over their summer holidays

Looking after our elders
SIMRAN REKHY, 19
Bachelor of Commerce and Science, Monash University

During the summer break, I volunteered at an aged care home. My visits consisted of organising activities and games for the residents, engaging in conversation with them as well as creating an atmosphere that would be visually inspirational and motivational. I had the opportunity to plan their birthday celebrations within the premises, which included decorating the lounge and organising food and drinks.

Summer Holidays.Indian Link

It gave me immense pleasure to bring joy into the lives of the residents and see them celebrating with happiness. Some of my most memorable moments included playing scrabble with one senior, taking them out to the garden to pick flowers and actively listening to them talk about their past.

I strongly believe in the importance of giving back to the community, which is what inspired me to volunteer at an aged care home. My grandmother has been volunteering at an aged care home for the past couple of years. Seeing how passionate she is about this, as well as the joy and pleasure she received from this role, made me extremely proud of her, wanting to follow in her footsteps.

Volunteering in an aged care home was an experience that I will cherish forever.

Reaching out to underprivileged kids
BRINDA OHRI, 23
Doctor of Medicine, Griffith University

During my gap year I volunteered teaching English to disadvantaged children in Argentina. It was both an eye-opening and rewarding experience and I was able to immerse myself in their community, culture and way of life.

Summer Holidays.Indian Link

I had always been interested in travelling to South America, and I whilst I was researching, I came across an NGO in Argentina, which was very passionate in helping their underprivileged population. I made contact with them and was lucky to join their incredible work.

Discovering myself in dance
VISHAKHA IYER, 10
Year 6, Kings Langley Public School

I have always told my mum, “I wish I could dance 24 hours of the day and do nothing else.”

Summer Holidays.Indian Link

This wish has been coming true over the past two years as I go to India during the summer break to train in Bharatanatyam with Abhinaya exponent Bragha Bessel. Learning from Bragha Aunty is very special. When we enact everyday situations in dance she presents the ideas in such a refreshing way that we start to discover the same common things from different angles. The best thing about training under Bragha Aunty is that even when she makes corrections and is critical, she does it with such humour that I never forget what she has said. As she was teaching me on how mother Yashodha was caressing Krishna’s face, looking at the way I was holding my hands, she said, “You are holding baby Krishna’s face, Vishakha, not a Halloween pumpkin!” Every time I practice, comments like these will not only help me never make those mistakes again but will also bring a smile to my face. I am very lucky to have teachers who train me with love and patience like Chidambaram R Suresh in Sydney and Bragha Bessel in India.

Accounting: Getting a look in
TOM SMITH, 18
Bachelor of Commerce, University of Melbourne

Since finishing high school in November I have begun developing the necessary accounting expertise to transition into the corporate world, by working at the accounting firm Murdoch Partners. I have learnt the basic skills such as filing and archiving before undertaking a graduate accounting course in the CBD.

Summer Holidays.Indian Link

I hope that these experiences will prepare me for the Bachelor of Commerce and beyond.

Seeing how the other half lives
NISHTHA CHADHA, 19
Bachelor of Global Studies and International Relations, University of Sydney 

I am currently on a scholarship program in Southeast Asia for about three months. The program has two phases; the first is working with various charities in Cambodia and Vietnam that my college currently sponsors and assessing their impact and budgeting our donations that we raised throughout the year. The second phase is an internship, for which I am currently working at the SAELAO project – an ecologically friendly community development project in rural Laos. The project provides surrounding communities with education support, employment opportunities and promotes ecological awareness and sustainable practices across the surrounding villages. Both phases have been incredibly eye-opening and pushed me very far out of my comfort zone, but I’ve learnt and seen more than I ever could’ve imagined.

Summer Holidays.Indian Link

Back in the home country
ANINDYA BHOWMIK, 27
Graduated in Mechanical Engineering from University of Technology, Sydney

I volunteered for Yuva Australia and the Consulate General of India in Sydney last year and in January this year, representing Australian Indian youth at the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas organised by the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India. It was a pleasure participating in a Panel Discussion on youth NRI issues at Youth PBD 2017 with the Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj, and meeting the Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a lunch event. Youth PBD 2017 was a huge success, particularly the Q&A session with an audience of 700 PBD attendees. The three-day main affair from 7-9 January, 2017 in Bengaluru, entailed an inaugural session on the “Role of Diaspora Youth in the Transformation of India”, two plenary sessions and discussions about various aspects of NRI and student/youth issues.

Summer Holidays.Indian Link

Reporting from the diaspora
ARPITA SINGH, 23
Graduated in Information Technology, Charles Sturt University 

As the secretary of Yuva Australia, I was invited by the Indian High Commission and the MEA to be a panellist at PBD 2016-17 on the topic of “Problems faced by Indian international students in Australia”. I travelled to New Delhi late last year and had the honour of participating in the 8th PBD Panel Discussion chaired by the External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. The issues we raised and the solutions we proposed were thoughtfully considered by the MEA and significant implementation strategies and solutions were announced at the annual Youth PBD 2017 held in January.

Summer Holidays.Indian Link

Putting e-waste to good use
ANIRBAN GHOSE, 24
Graduated in Robotics, University of Sydney

This summer I began building a micro-factory. I had the immense privilege of working at the University of New South Wales SMaRT Centre to develop innovative solutions for recycling electronic waste (e-waste). We can all appreciate the challenge of the quantum of electronic waste that we are producing – all the old phones, televisions, microwaves, basically anything with a cord we throw out, making it the fastest growing waste stream globally. These devices are complex waste products, comprised of over 1000 different materials, some of which are toxic such as lead, others which are immensely valuable, such as copper. So, the SMaRT centre has been researching solutions to this global challenge which has now culminated in the design of a micro-factory. We are designing a containerised factory to disassemble, sort and process in furnaces to convert our waste into high-value materials based on our patented micro-recycling technology. I have been working on the automated vision systems, drones and robotic arms to augment the material processing techniques being developed by the centre.

Summer Holidays.Indian Link

Relinking with our arts heritage
KEERTHANA PARTHIBAN, 22
Bachelor of Science in IT, University of Technology, Sydney

Over the past year I’ve been part of a team of students working hard to re-establish the UTS Tamil Society and its annual event Kathambamalai.

First established in 1999, the society has a long and rich history of organising cultural events to fundraise for communities in Sri Lanka and India. We have now brought back its annual Kathambamalai event, reinvigorated for a new and diverse audience.

Summer Holidays.Indian Link

These past months of summer, we’ve passionately been working on script writing, dramaturgy, dance and acting rehearsals with a great cast and crew to bring to stage a thrilling dance drama titled Kayal Vizhi. We’re proud to have provided a platform for upcoming youth talent and to have used this opportunity to establish ties with our Tamil community in the form of donations to Vanni Rehabilition and Palmera Projects. Being able to bring this production to life has truly shown the potential of young people when we come together. Overall, it has provided us with an avenue to tap into our creative cultural roots in a university and community setting.

A song for you
MAHEK ANAND, 17
Year 12, Melbourne 

Summer Holidays.Indian Link

During the summer break I was a part of the David Jaanz School of Singing showcase. I got the opportunity to perform in front of a large audience. In the past year I have started doing gigs as a singer and since then have performed at various venues around Melbourne. I am passionate about RnB, soul and pop music but I like to keep my doors open to other genres as well.

I have been singing for a few years now and aspire to gain more experience in live performances. I have always been fascinated with music, even in different languages – whether Latin, French or Bollywood – and would love to explore more in the future. Something I enjoy thoroughly with music is being able to be versatile.

Preparing for this showcase and having been given the opportunity to be a part of it has definitely been one of the best moments of 2016 for me.

Non-profit legal service
AZAARA PERAKATH, 21
Bachelor of Law and Commerce, University of Adelaide

Summer Holidays.Indian Link

Having just completed my third year of my law and commerce (corporate finance) double degree, and armed with a lot of enthusiasm, I decided that this summer, much as I would miss the opportunity to sleep in, I would immerse myself in the opportunities available to me. The first step was applying to be a volunteer at JusticeNet, a not-for-profit legal service that provides free legal help for people who cannot afford a lawyer or who are low-income and disadvantaged members of society. This has so far provided me with invaluable practical experience in a variety of areas of law and increased my passion for justice. I was also fortunate enough to secure a summer position at the Australian Financial Security Authority, a Commonwealth Government Department, doing corporate related work as part of a project team. And just to ensure I really did not have even a moment to be bored these holidays, I have also been doing research and oral advocacy as part of the University of Adelaide’s Jessup International Law Moot Team. We will be representing the University at the national round of the competition in Canberra in a few days. All in all, a busy but fulfilling summer and one that I am sure will shape my future!

Experiencing the life of Indian farmers
HAZEL JOHAL, 20
Bachelor of Business (Accounting Major), University of Technology, Sydney

Summer Holidays.Indian Link

In January, I participated in a 21-day innovation and empathy workshop with Drishtee Immersion in rural Maharashtra. I went with five other students from UTS to study the local community and one of the challenges they are facing, agriculture. For 18 days, I studied the local agricultural practices. One of the things I noticed was that they didn’t use any machinery, the farmers still hand-picked their crop and used methods that their fathers taught them. Soon, I realised that the old-school method of farming is heavily dependent on a regular water supply, and in the summer, lack of water makes farming impossible. Unfortunately, the farmers lack the training to do it any other way. On the other hand, meeting the local children was very exciting; they were so eager to share. I had a really good experience because everybody I met was kind and no one made me feel that I was from a strange, foreign country. For Makar Sankranti on the 14th, the villagers bought all us girls matching sarees and took us to the local temple for an evening of cultural activity and prayer. Meeting these people is something I will cherish forever.

The business side of software
NEHAL JAIN, 19
Bachelor of Engineering (Honours)(Software), University of Adelaide

Although my degree is mostly technical, there is also an element of project management and business involved. I have always been keen on exploring this technical side and seeing how it all comes together. In the future, I aim to work in a position that combines both aspects, as opposed to being in a solely software developer role.

So, when I came across an opening for a role which required knowledge of technology, business and marketing, I felt like I had hit the jackpot. I am now doing an Internship with Microsoft, as the Program Manager of the Microsoft Innovation Centre South Australia.

Summer Holidays.Indian Link

Through this role, I am expanding my networks as I am required to constantly be working with the local community, start-ups, universities and the government. This internship experience is also bringing to light the vast plethora of jobs that I did not even know existed. Hopefully this will help me evaluate whether or not I truly enjoy being in a hybrid role so that I can really nail down my career goals.

International diplomacy
SUJNEET KAUR JOHAL, 17
Bachelor of Law and Bachelor of Economics, UNSW

I was extremely fortunate to have been given the opportunity to explore 9 European countries in the span of 4 weeks with the UN Youth Australia Young Diplomats Tour. I was amongst 15 other students selected from across Australia through an extremely demanding selection process which lasted a few months.

Throughout the tour, I had the opportunity to engage with key players in international diplomacy, including significant European politicians, UN representatives, diplomats, leading thinkers, grassroots organisations, media outlets and NGOs. I also met with well-known figures such as Helen Brady, Head of Prosecution Appeals for the International Criminal Court, ABC’s foreign correspondent Lisa Millar in London, German Negotiator for climate change Karsten Sach and UKIP member Raymond Finch.

Summer Holidays.Indian Link

I gained a deeper understanding on the role of diplomacy and the evolution of nation states shaping our global community. This understanding came through intense workshops focusing on major historical events and eras, specifically WWII and its repercussions, which transcends European politics and heavily influences political discourse today.

Overall, this experience challenged my political views and enhanced my passion for politics and creating change. Most importantly, I engaged with many young people who have already created change and excelled in their respective fields which was highly motivating. As an Indian Australian, UN Youth Australia has allowed me to voice my opinions, which have been nurtured by my cultural upbringing as well as understanding how I can convert my views into real change despite my young age.

Cooking with refugees
TARA MAHAPATRA, 21
Bachelor of Commerce/Law, University of Sydney

I joined Enactus, an international organisation that encourages university students to use entrepreneurial action to create a better world for all, in my first year of university. Currently, I am part of the Enactus University of Sydney project, Culinary Tales, which empowers refugees to run their own cooking classes in the community. The purpose of the project is to provide a social platform for refugees to share their stories, culture and recipes with the community, and to provide a source of employment. Being part of the project has been one of the greatest experiences in university, and has allowed me to meet so many wonderful people.

Summer Holidays.Indian Link

We offer cooking classes in Iranian, Indian, Lebanese, Tibetan and more cuisines. You can visit our website for further information about Culinary Tales and the classes www.culinary-tales.com.

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